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Interview with a Cheerleader

In a continuations of our "what is gameday like for different people" series, next up is Cheerleader

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Hey guys, we have a special guest here to talk about his gameday experiences. He's a Texas Tech cheerleader, student, and my cousin, Philip Sorrells. You might recognize him from the photos we use, or throwing human beings into the air on Saturdays.


VTM: What’s a normal gameday like for you as a cheerleader?

A normal gameday for me is showing up 3 1/2 hours before actual kick off where we get a free lunch at the Fraiser after which we head into the stadium and warm up for a bout 30 min. After warm ups we head just west of the Fraiser to do a pep rally we call Raider Alley, immediately afterward we are split into our gameday squads and are sent to various parts of the tailgates to greet patrons and take pics with kids or whoever wants one.

Then we head back into the stadium about 30 min before kick off and re-warm up and stretch or whatever else anyone needs done and at 12 left on the clock we get read for pre game, which is one of my favorite things because I get to run the huge black flag. Then we cheer, switching corners of the Jones every quarter and getting to interact with all the different fans which is also an awesome experience, then at the close of the game we sing the Matador Song, and afterward whatever stunts were dropped in the game are done 5 times consecutively or whoever dropped can't leave until completed.

VTM: Cheerleading is a pretty physically taxing sport. I used to hate, then someone asked me if I could hold another human being up with one hand. I can’t. What’s your workout regimen like?

We get the privilege of working with the strength and conditioning staff for Tech, so our regimen is tailored to our sport like any other college sport program. Guys lift 4 days a week doing all major power lifts, bench, squat, deadlift, hangclean, ect.. however 3 of those 4 days we also have 3 hr practices and whatever events we have to attend and stunt/tumble at which are work outs in and of themselves.

VTM: What’s your favorite memory of the Jones?

My personal favorite would have to be the TCU game last year (2015) the game was crazy and so was the crowd, it was probably the most surreal feeing being a part on that field and hearing the roar of the crowd as we tried to topple the no. 3 team in the country. Specifically, the "Raider Powers" that rang through all of Lubbock was a feeling i'll never forget.

VTM: What’s the best stadium y’all got to cheer in?

Well  my favorite will always be the Jones, but Cowboys Stadium is always awesome to go to and be on the field, but also the stadium at Arkansas is pretty amazing.

VTM: Do you have a pre-performance playlist, and if so, what’s on it?

The only two songs that are constant before our biggest performance, which is finals for college nationals in Daytona beach FL, are Sweet Caroline, and the josh abbott band song about Tech, Victory Bells.

VTM: While we’re on the subject of music: Staind or Creed?

I probably don't speak for the whole team but I'd pick Creed.

VTM: What’s the craziest thing an opposing fan has said to you?

Well luckily for me being a large 200 plus lbs man in a cheerleading uniform, I don't catch much flack from other fans.

VTM: Let’s entertain a hypothetical: y’all mess up a routine. What’s the likelihood of the crowd noticing?

Well errors can range anywhere from a simple missed count to a whole pyramid falling to the mat. So barring the unthinkable of completely dropping a stunt or pyramid, its been my experience that its pretty hard to discern a mistake in technique or otherwise from the eyes of a fan that doesn't know how cheer is scored as far as competitions.

VTM: Can you rip a phonebook in half?

I just tried for this interview and could only manage a couple of page tears before my forearms wanted to die, so no I cannot.

VTM: What do you bench?

My bench max for 1 rep has been at most 405lbs.

VTM: What’s your favorite memory from cheerleading?

My favorite memory is and always will be walking onto the Bandshell at finals in Daytona and looking at the screaming crown and the beach and sun and looking into the eyes of my teammates just before the music comes on and knowing that we're going to give everything we have for each other to win a National Championship for our program and for Tech.


A huge thanks to Philip for taking the time out of his day to do this. Wreck 'Em Tech!